Read Elisa Pederiva's journey
Elisa Pederiva competes for Team GB in the Dragon boat and last year won a Bronze medal in the World Championship in China, heres her story:
"Dragon boat racing is not a common sport in the U.K. or Europe but it is a rapidly growing one. I decided to give it a go when my physiotherapist explained that all of my back issues were caused by a general lack of strength in my core and that "something like kayaking" would be helpful. Luckily, my boyfriend was into "dragon boating" and was more than happy to introduce me to his club. So he did and, from the very first training sessions, i fell in love with the club and the sport.
On a dragon boat there are one helm, one drummer and 20 paddlers all paddling in sync. To me, it is the ultimate team sport; everyone paddles hard so that the team can be the fastest and most resilient. If you feel tired and ready to give up, you can just look at your team mates around you and get the energy you need from their commitment. My club, Typhoon, is run like a family; we all have lunch or dinner together after training, we arrange international events, we have holidays together.
I fell in love with the sport even more after my first few races, in the summer. Lots of clubs come together to compete on the national league, from all over the UK. Men and women of all ages, with families, spend the day together competing, but also socialising.
I liked the environment so much that I decided to try out for the national team and, after a few months of hard training, I was successful in being selected to be part of Team GB for the 2017 World Championship in China. This was probably the most amazing paddling experience of my life. We competed against the most successful paddling teams in the world: China, USA, Canada, Thailand... and, clearly my highlight, we managed to take home a bronze medal in the Ladies 200m category. The European Championships are scheduled for the summer, in Germany, and of course I can't stop thinking about how fun it would be to try out for the national team again..."